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New faces at Elsie Normington Foundation to support development of Haven Centre for young people with complex needs in the Highlands


By Val Sweeney

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An artist's impression of the proposed Haven Centre.
An artist's impression of the proposed Haven Centre.

Four new trustees have been appointed to the Elsie Normington Foundation board to support the charity as it enters an exciting new phase.

Earlier this year, it reached its fundraising target of £4 million to develop the Haven Centre – Scotland’s first integrated centre for young people with learning disabilities and complex needs – in Inverness.

Iain Stewart.
Iain Stewart.

Iain Stewart, former chief executive of NHS Orkney, will support the foundation with its strategic development as it looks to outline its vision for the Haven Centre over the next five years.

Helen Aird.
Helen Aird.

Helen Aird, a marketing, communications and public relations executive with Inverness College UHI, and Iain Boyd, former marketing project co-ordinator for the charity, will support the development of its marketing, communications and engagement strategy.

Iain Boyd.
Iain Boyd.

Anne-Marie Harmsworth, a supported education lecturer at Inverness College UHI, who has more than 15 years’ experience teaching young adults with moderate and complex needs, will support the development of education provision at the centre and its community garden.

Anne-Marie Harmsworth.
Anne-Marie Harmsworth.

Elsie Normington, chairwoman of the foundation, was delighted to welcome the four onto the board.

"Each of them bring different skills and experiences which will support the development of the Haven Centre as we move through the contract award and construction phase to the realisation of our vision for Scotland’s first multi-purpose centre for children and young adults with multiple disabilities and complex needs," she said.

The contract to build the centre in Murray Road, Smithton, is currently out for tender and it is hoped work will start on site in early 2022.

The Haven Centre will be built at a derelict site in Smithton.
The Haven Centre will be built at a derelict site in Smithton.

When complete, it will comprise three two-bedroom respite flats for young adults up to the age of 30, an indoor specialist play centre with childcare facilities, a community café, meeting spaces and outdoor garden.

The project will create around 50 jobs during the construction phase and around 30 jobs once the centre is complete.

It will be run by the foundation in partnership with Key Community Supports and Flexible Childcare Services Scotland.

Ongoing fundraising continues through the Haven Appeal to enhance services and expand the opportunities created by the centre, which will address a shortage of accessible respite and services for children and young adults with severe, profound and multiple learning disabilities in the Highlands and Islands.

Planned Haven Centre to receive £250k injection


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